Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quick and Dirty

(In case you haven't noticed, Unbreaded has added a third blogger! Please welcome Ash, who, blogging as .  I can't wait to read all of her great recipes and tips.  I just have to deal with my jealousy that she lives in New York, and Katie gets to try all her low-carb cookin'.)

For the past few weeks (okay, months), I've been in a cooking slump where I just cannot find the motivation to prepare healthy food. This has mostly driven me to high-carb take-out and microwavable meals, and I'm so spoiled by the convenience of it all that I'm having a really hard time getting up the gumption to rededicate myself to spending time in the kitchen.

My first few meals in my return to low carb eating have consisted of eating pepperoni slices and gnawing on a block of cheese, and people, I AM BORED. I know there are a million things I can eat, but until I can make some time and find some energy to cut up some stuff and cook up some stuff to have on hand, I really need some ideas for quick and easy meals to get me through a busy week, and I'm hoping you can offer some ideas.

What are your quickest and easiest low carb meals? And I mean EASY. Just in case you're unsure of how lazy I really am, I'm talking minimal-step, minimal dish-dirtying, minimal standing-over-and-stirring. As out-of-the-package-and-into-my-mouth as possible food. Favorite fast food options are also welcome.

Thanks! And here's hoping that once I start feeling the increased energy that comes from ditching all the sugar and starch, I'll at least be able to be bothered to boil an egg again.

Monday, November 28, 2011

How Not to be Crippled by Cramps and Headaches When You're Low-Carbing AND Exercising

Get some electrolytes in to avoid cramps and headaches
I recently went through an induction phase for the Nth time, which should have been business as usual for someone who's gone low-carb at several points in her life, but the difference this time was that I was really on Atkins instead of South Beach, so my carb intake was a LOT lower than ever before (no milk, very limited quantities of tomatoes), PLUS I was a month into working out heavily, and I didn't want to stop. Add to that the fact that I (very unwisely) decided that, oh, I guess I'll try out Bikram Yoga (a form of hot yoga for those who don't know) for the first time at the same time. I can't even tell you how much I wanted to stop working out forever as I tried to convince myself I wasn't dying halfway through my third yoga class.

Lack of caffeine is what people usually point out as the culprit when it comes to low-carb headaches, but that's never been the real issue for me because I never listened no matter how many times Dr. Atkins/Dr. Agatson reitarated I should not be drinking coffee. No one. Touches. My. Coffee. So I had to figure out what else was giving me these blinding headaches, and from doing some more reading I figured the culprit might be lack of magnesium and potassium due to the strict diet. I just figured I'd take some Centrum and other supplements, no big deal. Except it WAS a big deal, when I had terrible leg cramps halfway through a Jillian Michaels workout (which has NEVER happened to me), and like I said, felt like I was dying during yoga.

Eat some spinach, that's all I'm axskin' you.
The one good thing that came out of me doing yoga then was I found a better way of getting electrolytes in me (magnesium and potassium are electrolytes), when the yoga instructor noticed I seemed to be dehydrated even though I had basically chugged an entire bottle of water throughout the workout and handed me an Emergen-C Electro Mix packet (5.30/box 18 cents/packet at Amazon), which has no sugar or carbs but plenty of electrolytes (it's sweetened with Stevia). It's a powder packet you just pour into your water bottle that instantly makes it a zero carb/calorie sports drink. I'm never low-carbing and doing a workout without it again.

If you want a more natural way to get electrolytes in you, go for beans and spinach. They're both good sources of potassium and magnesium.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Low-Carb Lemon Cheesecake

I think cheesecake is one of the best desserts to have as a low-carber because other than sugar, you don't really need to substitute most of the other ingredients, so you don't have to sacrifice much on the taste.

I found this recipe while looking for low-carb dessert recipes online. Dessert is my kryptonite when it comes to low-carbing (I can eat burgers and eggs all day for my main meals), so I'm constantly planning out what to make so I don't get the urge to buy ice cream and cupcakes. Here's the original recipe, with a few notes:



1 1/4 cup almond meal crushed almonds (almond meal is somewhat expensive $40/16 oz!, so I crushed some almonds in my blender. Make sure to use pulse mode to get all the pieces.)

Crushed almonds

2 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons sugar equivalent in artificial sweetener (I used Splenda)


1 1/2 lbs (3 packages) cream cheese, room temperature (important!)
1 1/4 cups sugar equivalent in artificial sweetener (I used Splenda)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, room temperature (important!)
1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh is best)
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup heavy cream


1 cup sour cream
Juice and zest from 1 medium lemon (about 2 Tablespoons juice and 1 Tablespoon zest)
1/4 cup sugar equivalent in artificial sweetener (I used Splenda)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Heat oven to 375 F.
  • Prepare a springform pan. I like to put a piece of parchment paper over the bottom of the pan; no need to cut it to size, just snap it into place when you tighten the sides of the pan. The parchment paper makes it easier to move the cheesecake to a nicer serving plate once the cake is done. Butter the sides and bottom of the pan, including parchment. Wrap the outside of the pan in heavy-duty foil to protect it from leaks. 
If you don't know what a springform pan is, here it is.
It's easier to put the parchment paper in by sealing the pan
while the bottom is under the paper, then cut the parchment paper
Pan with parchment paper, buttered and wrapped in foil

  • Combine ingredients for crust. Press the mixture into the bottom of your springform pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant and beginning to brown. Remove from oven.
  • Lower oven temperature to 350 F.
  • Gather ingredients for the filling. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl and beaters. (The mixture will gradually become lighter as you add in the rest of the ingredients, and the denser stuff will cling to the bowl. If you don't scrape, you won't be able to incorporate the remaining ingredients as well.) It is important to scrape, add the ingredients gradually and beat properly. Otherwise parts of your cheesecake can be eggy (ick). I learned this the hard way.
  • Add sweetener, vanilla, salt, and 2 of the eggs. Beat well, scrape.
If you're not aware, they sell granulated Splenda, which makes cooking with it easier

  • Add the other 2 eggs. Beat well, scrape.
  • Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and cream. Beat well, scrape, and pour filling mixture into the pan over the crust.
  • In another bowl, mix together ingredients for topping and set aside.
  • Place a baking pan large enough to hold your springform pan into the oven and fill it halfway with boiling water. Place the springform pan into the baking pan and bake for about 60 minutes (give or take 10 to 15 minutes), until the cheesecake is mostly set but is still wobbly in the middle.
  • Remove cheesecake from oven, spread the topping over the cheesecake, then bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Cool to room temperature (1 to 2 hours), then chill completely for several hours before serving. 
  • If you'd like, put 2 tablespoons of Cool Whip on every slice. It contrasts well with the tart lemon flavor.

Nutritional Information: Each of 16 servings has 3 grams effective carbohydrate plus 1 gram fiber, 7 grams protein, and 295 calories. Cool whip adds an additional 2 grams of carbs per serving.

Quick intro: Hi all! My name's Ash and I obviously was recently invited to start posting on Unbreaded (either that or I'm a pretty good hacker). I wasn't sure what to post first, but since this recipe saved me from eating all the evil carbs at a pre-thanksgiving dinner I recently hosted, I decided to put it up. Hopefully this will be the first of many recipes I'll be trying out and sharing with you. When I'm not playing around with de-carbing recipes, I blog about New York city at http://notboredny.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Low-Carb Flaxseed Pancakes

I'm forever trying to find low-carb breakfasts that I actually look forward to eating. I don't care much for savory foods in the morning, so discovering that flaxseed makes a wonderful pancake was a major event for me.

Here's what you need:

3 medium eggs (or two jumbo eggs)
3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
3 teaspoons Splenda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix everything (I use a measuring cup and a fork) and pour into a skillet or onto a griddle on medium heat. (I like to melt a little butter onto mine first.) Cook for a few minutes until the sides become firm and rounded and then flip over.

I like to melt a tablespoon of butter onto mine and then sprinkle it with cinnamon and Splenda, but this would also work great as a savory wrap with eggs and sausage.

Makes one huge pancake or several small ones.

My pancake kind of fell apart this morning while I was trying to get it out of the skillet with a much-too-small spatula, but it was still delicious. The texture is pillowy and bready, just like a carby pancake, but it has an earthier taste. It easily keeps me full from 7 a.m. until lunchtime.

I can also see this being a really easy pizza crust without the vanilla, cinnamon, and Splenda and would love to know if someone uses it for that before I do!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sugar Free Frozen Hot Chocolate? Yes, please!

As much as Katie and I love cold and creamy chocolate desserts and will gladly eat them indiscriminately, our all-time favorite, go-to is the one and only Frozen Hot Chocolate from Dairy Queen, where it's not even officially on the menu anymore, but they'll still make it for you if you order it at the right Central Ohio locations. We've had it at NYC's Serendipity, of course, but the sugary DQ version, with its fudgy, not-quite-all-the-way-blended-in chocolate is actually more delicious -- and it's about 1/4 the price. We weren't so excited, though, when we found out that a single serving of our beloved FHC contains a shocking 127 grams of carbohydrate.

Here we are, enjoying FHC at Serendipity way back in 2006.

FHC is one of those indulgences for which we've never found a suitable replacement while watching carbs, so imagine my surprise when I spotted this lighter version today on Pinterest, made with just non-dairy milk, Truvia, a teeny pinch of salt, and cocoa.

(I started to e-mail the recipe to Katie, but since we were just talking today about how we really should be blogging instead of just sharing all of our diet musings and woes and ideas and inspirations with only each other, I thought I'd link up to it here.)

The ingenious part of this recipe involves pouring the blended ingredients into ice cube trays, freezing, and then running the cubes through a blender for rich, chocolaty results that are undiluted by plain old ice.The recipe in the link is vegan, but I wouldn't think twice about mixing in a little heavy cream and/or topping with some dark chocolate shavings.

I can't wait to try this!

Have you ever successfully de-carbed your favorite dessert?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Back on the Wagon?

I'm pretty mad about it, but I'm back to low-carbing. When I first read the Atkins book three or four years ago, it made such sense to me that I was incensed when half the low-carb blogs I found had been abandoned. I think it's so annoying when people are constantly hopping on and off the low-carb bandwagon. But now I understand how it happens, because it keeps happening to me.

The first time I tried Atkins, I was SO SERIOUS. I took the book at its word when it told me I couldn't have caffeine, and I got scared when other people told me sugar-free candy made them stall. I gave up soda and only ate 2 ounces of cheese per day and limited my heavy cream to mere teaspoons.

By the end of my low-carbing, I had lost 33 pounds, was going to the gym regularly, and fit into clothing sizes I couldn't remember wearing my whole life. I looked great, and looking back at those pictures now makes me sad. The problem was that I felt like I was eating unhealthily. I was living on sugar-free pudding made with heavy cream, crustless pizzas with half a package of pepperoni on top, and all the mayonnaise I could handle.

So I decided that I was going to start eating only "natural" foods and counting calories. Of course I eventually forgot the natural part and turned meals into a game of How Many Chicken Fingers Can I Fit Into 1200 Calories Per Day?. I gained all of my weight back plus more, as everyone seems to. Since then, I've casually low-carbed, meaning that I eat right for a day or two and then decide it's fine if I have just one pita and then one bag of chips and then one cupcake.

I've been quietly maintaining about the same weight that way for a while, but I'm sick of it! I'm sick of rifling through my closet every morning for something that actually fits. I'm sick of feeling hungry yet bloated after every carby meal. I'm sick of knowing I could change everything if I could just stick to the way of eating that I actually believe in.

So, here goes. Again.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Meatspiration (or Cheesespiration, Maybe)

I just had my first piece of pizza without the crust in a loooooong time.

I remember when Tracey and I first read the Atkins book several years ago and were so convinced that every stick of sugar-free gum and every can of Diet Coke was going to throw us off the weightloss train; we'd stress about the tiniest carb intake. My company would order pizza every Friday, and I'd only eat the white pizza because I thought the tomato sauce had too much sugar. But the white pizza had fresh mozzarella, which I figured wasn't hard enough to count as one of the acceptable cheeses on Atkins. Fridays felt like a field of land mines to me.

Then, when I got interested in the Belly Fat Cure last year, I started allowing myself a whole slice of pizza if I ate one without the crust first. Those initial toppings would seem so dumb to me when all I wanted was to get at that second slice with the crust still intact. The problem was that once I gave myself the freedom to eat some crust, I'd end up going back for the leftovers with my co-workers a few hours later and have another whole slice. And sometimes two. I'm not good with an un-strict diet.

Now, I'm trying to eat according to the primal blueprint with some protein shakes added in for convenience, so I made myself eat a salad for lunch today with the promise of a crustless slice for a snack later, and boy, did it taste great.

Maybe treating diet-appropriate foods as if they were treats is the way to go.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Keeping Your Goals Stylishly Visible

Check out this adorable printable resolutions poster from Li'l Magoolie, available in both multicolor and blue. I especially love that "LESS SUGAR" and "EAT MORE GREEN THINGS" are the very first resolutions listed.

Via Odeedoh.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bacon Cheeseburger Stuffed Mushrooms

I spotted this mouthwatering low-carb creation on a non-low-carb blog, and it made my renewed enthusiasm for non-starchy foods kick into overdrive.

Butter-sauteed mushrooms stuffed with ground beef, pepperjack cheese, bacon, and mayo, topped off with french fried onions. And you know all about my love for french fried onions.

I can't wait to make these.